Notes on Characters from Romeo and Juliet

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Romeo and Juliet Major Characters

Capulet: The head of one of the major families in Verona, and also Juliet’s father. They are in a feud with the Montague family. He is very demanding and wants Juliet to do what he says; Capulet tries to make her marry Paris, against her wishes.

Montague: The head of one of the major families in Verona, and also Romeo’s father. They are in a feud with the Capulet family.

Benvolio: A member of the Montague family. He is a nephew, and he is also Romeo’s best friend. He tries to help Romeo get over his infatuation with Rosaline by bringing him to the Capulet feast to see other pretty women.

Tybalt: A member of the Capulet family. He is hot-tempered and hates the Montagues. He is angered when he learns that Romeo showed up at the Capulet feast. He sends Romeo a letter and challenges him. After insulting Romeo in the public square, Mercutio responds by challenging him to a duel. Tybalt kills Mercutio, but then is killed by Romeo as a consequence.

Prince Escalus: The price of Verona. He tries to keep order among the Capulets and Montagues. He threatens death if the two families do not stop the on-going feud that has caused much of the civil disorder in Verona.

Montague’s wife: The wife of Montague and Romeo’s mother. She is affected by the feud with the Capulets and grieves deeply when she learns her son is exiled. Her grief is so deep that she dies at the end of the play.

Romeo: Romeo is a Montague. He grieves for the love of Rosaline, but falls in love with Juliet, Capulet’s daughter, at the Capulet feast. Romeo is quick to love and acts impulsively by killing himself by drinking poison when he thinks Juliet is dead.

Paris : A friend of the Prince. He is betrothed to Juliet, but is killed by Romeo in Juliet's tomb. Romeo feels guilty for the murder, so he answered Paris' dying wish and lies his body next to Juliet's.

Juliet: Juliet is a Capulet. She falls in love with Romeo and is willing to do anything to be with him, even though her family is in a feud with his family. She feigns death so she does not have to marry Paris, but only to awaken to find Romeo actually dead right next to her. She takes his sword and kills herself because she does not want to live without her Romeo.

Capulet’s wife: The wife of Capulet and Juliet’s mother. She supports her husband and tries to make Juliet marry Paris, even though Juliet refuses. She is also protective of her family and is very angry when she learns that Tybalt has been killed. She demands Romeo be killed, but instead, the Prince simply exiles him.

Nurse: Juliet’s nurse, who has taken care of Juliet since she was a baby. Juliet is extremely fond of her nurse. The nurse tries to help Juliet by bringing messages to Romeo, who is eventually banished from Verona to Mantua.

Mercutio: A friend of the Prince and Romeo. He likes to fight and cause trouble with his mouth, such as when he angers the Nurse. He challenges Tybalt to a duel after Tybalt insults his good friend, Romeo. He is killed by Tybalt in this duel.

Friar Laurence: Romeo’s friend and confidant. He agrees to marry Romeo and Juliet in hopes that their marriage will end the feud between the Capulets and the Montagues. He also watches out for Romeo. For instance, after Romeo kills Tybalt, Friar Laurence tells him to go to Mantua, where he will be safe. At the end of the play, he blames himself for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet, but the Prince frees him of any fault, because his intentions were honest and noble.

Minor Characters

Sampson: Servant to the Capulet family. He opens the play in a conversation with Gregory.

Gregory: Servant to the Capulet family. He opens the play in a conversation with Sampson.

Abram: Servant to the Montague family. He is seen in the first scene of the play in a conversation with Sampson and Gregory. They get in a minor argument, as Abram is a servant of the Montague family.

Balthasar: Servant to the Montague family. He informs Romeo in Mantua that Juliet is dead.

Peter: Illiterate servant to the Capulet family. For the most part, he is the Nurse’s servant. He is ordered to find the people on the list of guests for the feast, which Romeo and Benvolio read.

Anthony: Servant to the Capulet family. He is called to help with setting up the Capulet feast.

Potpan: Servant to the Capulet family. He is called to help with setting up the Capulet feast.

Apothecary: A shopkeeper knowledgeable about plants and herbs, he sells Romeo poison in Mantua. Although the sale of poison is illegal in Mantua, the Apothecary is very poor and accepts Romeo’s money.

Friar John: He is supposed to deliver Friar Laurence’s message to Romeo that says that Juliet is not really dead. He never makes it to Romeo, who is in Mantua, and Romeo thinks that Juliet is really dead.

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